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Me Retire? I'm Only 106!

Who said old lawyers never die, they just lose their appeal?

It wasn't Mordie Rochlin, a 106-year-old lawyer who still goes to the office. He "retired" 35 years ago, but he was going to the firm three times a week until he got pneumonia.

Rochlin said working was always part of his retirement plan. It's not like he couldn't get away from work; he just didn't want to.

Law Firm Lifer

For Rochlin, it started when he walked in the door to his office in 1938. He didn't realize then that he would spend the rest of his life there, but it felt like home.

"Paul Weiss was my life," he said in an interview with the New York Law Journal. "The way I looked on the firm, it was not only a community of scholars but a community of friends."

It's a rare thing in law firms, even for name partners, to stay beyond the obligatory years. Some will leave, others will check out and just collect checks.

But to work past 100? That's more than rare; that's one degree below immortality.

Working Past 100

Bentley Kassal, 101, is one of those immortals. He has worked as a legislator, judge, and attorney. He is practically a fixture at his law firm, where he goes to work every day.

"I am enjoying every bit of it because every day I get a new challenge and I like being challenged," he told the New York Times.

He is one of the new, er, old breed of lawyers working well beyond retirement age. As the Times headlined it, they are: "Senior Counsel, Very Senior Counsel."

According to the report, more than 10 percent of the New York Bar Association are lawyers over 65 years old. Some, like Kassal, are working past their 90s.

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